Luciano Spalletti’s future increasingly distant from Roma after useless derby victory

La Repubblica (Francesca Ferrazza) If, as Alisson said before kick off, “this is the most important game of my life”, then the failure against Lazio risks weighing even more heavily on the shoulders of an already injured Roma, who are now forced to lick their wounds after a dark night. The Giallorossi weren’t able to turn the tie around, left crushed by defeat in the first leg (0-2) and were unable to give their fans a night to remember after one of the most highly anticipated derbies of recent times. The 3-2 win – with goals from El Shaarawy and Salah (who scored 2) – wasn’t enough to change the course of the tie and prevent them from failing to reach the final of the Coppa Italia. The fans tried to help their players, refilling the Curva Sud once more thanks to the removal of the barriers which, up until yesterday night, had emptied and silenced the curva. But the festival of colour and sound was confined to the stands, on the pitch the team were marooned, drifting a long way from safety, and they now face an uncertain future. Eventually the fans started to call for the introduction of Totti, the prayer card they were clinging to in hope of a miracle. The number 10 came onto the pitch 10 minutes before the final whistle. The curva gave the Giallorossi captain energy, but he wasn’t able to make his presence count.

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It was too late, impossible at that point to turn around a game that was already over. “The game against Lazio will force us to analyse things,” general director Baldissoni admitted before the game, and he was proved right: Roma didn’t reach the Coppa Italia final and the club will now have to plunge headfirst in a new direction. Today a new chapter in Roma’s history begins. Moreover, Spalletti has been very clear for the last few weeks that “If I don’t win a trophy, then I’ll go”, repeating these words on more than one occasion and which, at this point of the season, very much seem like a farewell. The Tuscan coach will not be holding the Coppa Italia when he discusses his future with the club, who in the meantime have come to an agreement with Sevilla’s Monchi. The new sporting director will be in Rome in the coming days. He will step foot inside Trigoria for the first time and will get to know Spalletti, though he has already said – in one of the many interviews he has carried out recently – that he doesn’t know if he will stay. It is one of the questions that needs to be answered, regardless of what happens in the final stages of the season. Even though it is still mathematically possible for Juventus to be caught, yesterday evening was the watershed moment – now the decisions about the club’s immediate future need to be made. And clearing up who will be in charge on the Roma bench is the first thing that the Giallorossi want to do.

At the same time, Roma need to complete their fixtures, which include another derby in the league. They start again on Sunday at Bologna, where De Rossi will return to the first team after remaining on the bench against Lazio, having not completely recovered from an injury. Then, on Easter Saturday, Atalanta come to the Olimpico before facing Pescara the following Monday (24th April). Then comes a deadly triple header: Lazio, Milan and Juventus, before the last 2 games of the season against Chievo and Genoa. There are still a lot of points to play for, and mathematically the scudetto is not yet over, but nor is the race for 2nd place. 2nd place is vital for the Trigoria club, as it is tied to their ability to offer important contract renewals to Strootman, Nainggolan, De Rossi and Manolas, as long as the Greek doesn’t end up being sold.

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